Grant this past weekend's UFC on Fuel TV 9 card a mulligan, since it lost Alexander Gustafsson on fight week. However, look at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale card and ask yourself if the UFC learned anything from UFC 151.
Yes, the card will still go on as planned, with Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen headlining. Yes, Miesha Tate will still fight undefeated Cat Zingano in the first non-title women's bout in UFC history, and, of course, we will see the likes of Travis Browne, Gabriel Gonzaga, Justin Lawrence, Daniel Pineda and others on the card.
However, a number of questions come up with the card confirmed so far.
On one hand, Jorgensen and Faber rarely ever put on a dull show, even if theirs do not deliver on locked-in "Fight of The Night" promises, Tate and Zingano look forward to UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, Browne vs. Gonzaga looks to turn in one of the finer examples of what happens when two heavyweight finishers collide and the prelims look to steal the show before the show starts.
Seriously, Cole Miller vs. Bart Palaszewski and Daniel Pineda vs. Justin Lawrence should demonstrate some of the aspects that make this sport so enjoyable to talk about. As for Maximo Blanco vs. Sam Sicilia, that fight may air live on Facebook, but it potentially could make its way to the FX broadcast of the TUF 17 finale because of the two explosive knockout specialists involved.
All of that mixed together seems like a recipe for success, except that this TUF finale, like its predecessors, appears to fly under the radar and rely on Faber vs. Jorgensen to draw.
Hopefully, this case gets disproved, considering Zingano's upside, Tate's talent, Browne's potential and Gonzaga's picture-perfect battle face, but remember, UFC 151 experienced this problem as well.
Once fans looked beyond the main event, fun fights existed, and at the end of the night, everyone loves fun fights, regardless of what they mean for the fighters themselves. However, if nobody knows about how fun these fights are, will anyone care?
The fans of the UFC remain as its lifeblood, but clearly, the lifeblood of the UFC no longer wants mere hype. After an event that rode on one fight, and an event whose demise fell on the shoulders of one man, the UFC needs to learn from their mistakes.
If they don't, then they will do well to not feel such strong agitation when fans argue that some cards deserve to undergo judgment before going live, even if the UFC played a hand in putting them together.
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